Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog


By Carly Price, March 23, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Carly Price

We love our producers, suppliers and vendors and we think most of them have some pretty interesting stories behind their products too.

We’re sharing some of our favorites here in an ongoing series.

In 1989, when Jim Rimer discovered that the commercial cleaning products he was selling contained known carcinogens and other questionable ingredients, he quit his job as a sales rep and started making something safer in his own garage.

Biokleen’s original plant- and mineral-based cleaners were formulated to be powerful enough for industrial use, but they quickly caught on for home use, too.

Based in Vancouver, Washington, the company is still family owned and operated. Jim’s daughter, Cindy Rimer, and her husband, Barry Firth (pictured with children, Megan and Ashton), are now at the helm.

Over the years, innovative products like Biokleen’s Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator have demonstrated that gentler, natural ingredients can deliver serious cleaning power.

From pet stains to diaper pails, Bac-Out utilizes a blend of live enzyme-producing cultures and plant extracts to remove and digest stains and odors.

All Biokleen products are formulated and manufactured in-house, and 100% of the company’s water and energy usage is offset through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Renewable Energy and Water Restoration Program. Biokleen has also earned numerous recycling and environmental stewardship awards, including the prestigious Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Practices.

“We are committed to manufacturing transparency,” Cindy says. "With every new product, we ask ourselves, ‘Does it work? Is it safe? Is it natural?’ Those things are what we want for our own families."

Biokleen has always worked to minimize packaging waste, and the recent trend toward 2x and 4x concentrated cleaners is nothing new to the Rimer family. “This is something we started doing over 20 years ago to reduce waste and create more value for the consumer.”

Everyone seems to have a story about the time Biokleen’s Bac-Out saved them from stains and odors. What's yours?

Photography by Ha Lam.




Karen Anspach says ...
My family LOVES Biokleen. I can't even tell you how many times bac-out has came in handy for the everyday spills and accidents that all families have. One of my all time favorite products is their laundry detergent, It seems as though the big container is never ending cause you only have to use a tiny amount! The best thing is that all their products are environmentally friendly and don't have that harsh chemical smell that cleaners have.
03/26/2012 12:40:07 PM CDT
Martha Highfill says ...
Thank you for your product and God bless your company. It means so much to me that you are cruelty free and not tested on animals. Please try to get in the Jackson, Tennessee area, can not find your products in my area of West Tennessee and I have to drive two and a half hours to Memphis and Nashville, thank you, Martha Highfill
03/26/2012 2:18:59 PM CDT
Lynne MacDonald says ...
LOVE Biokleen. I use their liquid laundry soap, in my HE machine and I love that they have a cold water formula. I recently started using their Lemon-Thyme dishwashing liguid, it smells wonderful, like I squeezed fresh lemons in my sink!
03/26/2012 3:15:43 PM CDT
Sarah says ...
We love you Biokleen floor cleaner...can't get enough of it, does a fantastic job on all kinds of floors..Love it...!! Thanks for making the best product/s around... Sarah
03/26/2012 6:15:30 PM CDT
George Mossey says ...
I love your products. I use them in my house daily. I really love how great the work.
03/27/2012 10:44:30 AM CDT
Josh donnell says ...
I love you guys! I use all of yall products. And i mean all:). Yall are the best. I will mot use anyone but biokleen.
03/27/2012 10:55:13 AM CDT
Craig Murphy says ...
thank you for all you do!!
03/27/2012 11:06:21 AM CDT
veronica says ...
this is the only thing that works for our cloth diaper's, the only thing. Thank you for making something that works and is earth friendly.
03/27/2012 11:09:40 AM CDT
Tamblia Gastineau says ...
I have a Flat Coated Retriever who loves to play in water. She also has a dog door and I can't count the number of times I've come home & the couch has been soaking wet from her laying on it. Biokleen thanks so much for the laundry soap & the lavendar scent Bac-Out, it's saved my couch from smelling like wet dog more than once.
03/27/2012 12:59:13 PM CDT
Deirdre Sissons says ...
I was absolutely thrilled to find Biokleen! I had been looking for something safe for my children and our household. I use Bac-Out for our gDiapers and any 'yuck' laundry, along with the HE liquid detergent. I can hardly believe I used to use those other detergents and fabric softeners! I also use the fabric freshened with the lemon & thyme. It smells so good! And everyone loves when I clean the bathrooms. The lavender sent from the cleaner and the mint smell from the soy toilet bowl cleaner make it smell so fresh! I could rave about Biokleen even more, but I believe my mini novel should get the point across nicely. ;-) Thank you for making exactly what I needed for my family, and for the world I am leaving behind for my children.
03/27/2012 1:19:35 PM CDT
Lisa Parrish says ...
I go out of my way to buy Biokleen. I use BacOut to keep odor and discoloration out of my dress shirts' armpits. I love the all-purpose cleaner for cleaning the granite counters and the wood floors. It really is amazing how little cleans so effectively.
03/27/2012 4:01:21 PM CDT
Sue says ...
I absolutely *love* Biokleen. I had a lot of disappointment with "green" cleaning products over the years, but once I found Biokleen I was thrilled. I probably use almost the entire product line. Love the dishwasher powder and the laundry detergent and the unscented dishwashing liquid the best. And I was so excited to find that Biokleen had a soap for carpet cleaners - I had to stop using my Bissell because of the perfume/chemical stench of the products, but once I found Biokleen's product I was able to start using it again. Plus it works great!
03/28/2012 11:15:30 AM CDT
Lori says ...
I love Bac Out and have been using it for all my stain needs since cloth diapering my son (who is now potty trained)over three years ago.
03/28/2012 11:20:47 AM CDT
Tracey Rollsion says ...
I've been so happy to find Biokleen! We recently adopted a very smart but abused dog, and she had not been housebroken because she had been kept in a shed. She also would submissive-pee (common in previously-abused dogs). Biokleen's Bac-Out has been a big part of her housetraining process. Not only does it take care of the odor, but our dog has learned to associate the smell of Bac-Out as an indication that that is *not* a place for her to squat. She will never pee in that area again!
03/28/2012 11:22:15 AM CDT
Tanisha says ...
03/28/2012 11:28:04 AM CDT
Raychel Mueller says ...
I LOVE Biokleen products! They are by far the best working products I've tried :) I love that it is local too, I drive past the warehouse building every week!
03/28/2012 11:30:35 AM CDT
Kristina says ...
I have recently began switching to all natural products with natural bacteria killing properties, havent tried the biokleen line yet, but i would love to!
03/28/2012 11:42:09 AM CDT
Klb02155 says ...
Every time my cleaners would clean my home, I always felt like I needed to air out the apartment after they left. I found this an odd thing to do since my home was clean. I could not stand the concentrated chemical smell and knew I had to find another way. Biokleen is awesome. I use the products for my dishes, laundry and home. I love how clean and fresh everything is. To top it off I love how economical Biokleen is. I have used many different cleaning detergents from unnatural to natural and Biokleen is my best!
03/28/2012 11:44:30 AM CDT
Carissa says ...
I started using Bac-Out for my cloth diapers and I love it! I have found it works well for ANY organic stains in my laundry! And I really like the smell and fact that it is all natural!!!
03/28/2012 11:54:55 AM CDT
Melinda Krupicka says ...
Bac-Out is by far our families favorite BioKleen product! Our furry family members get sick tummy's sometimes that end up on our carpets, but Bac-Out removes the stains quickly! And the best part is we don't have to worry about using toxic chemicals; great for all family members furry and non-furry! We also use Bac-Out for nasty laundry situations or to just freshen a load with BioKleen's liquid laundry detergent. We love BioKleen!
03/28/2012 12:18:37 PM CDT
Jennifer says ...
I started out using the Laundry detergent - my bottles last forever b/c you don't need that much for a load!! Then started using the dishwasher detergent, again, lasts forever b/c you only use a small amount!! With a toddler, two dogs & a baby due in June, I think it is time to try the Bac-out!! Kudos to Biokleen!!
03/28/2012 2:57:07 PM CDT
kari says ...
I LOVE the Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator. I have a puppy that has had a few accidents on our carpet, and *nothing* I've tried eliminates the odor like Bac-Out. It's the best. If only it came in gallon sizes. :)
03/28/2012 5:49:17 PM CDT
Sandra Shimazu says ...
I'm so glad for your non-toxic approach to cleaning!! I'm looking for a mildew stain remover--I've tried Bac-out, but it doesn't remove those stubborn stains. What product of yours do you suggest? Thank you!
03/28/2012 5:51:59 PM CDT
Sarah says ...
I love BioKleen, too. I wish my local Whole Foods (D.C.) still carried their products so I wouldn't have to order them online.
03/28/2012 7:11:54 PM CDT
Vonnie says ...
Love all your products! I used the simply all purpose cleaner and glass cleaner in my car this last weekend and no nasty chemical smells. Yeah! The all purpose cleaner took out some stains on both of my visors. I wasn't expecting that :) Thanks for the wonderful products!
03/28/2012 7:23:55 PM CDT